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Intervention by Karima Baloch at UNHRC, item 8 and 9

Item 9
Intervention by Karima Baloch

Racism has taken the form of cultural discrimination. The idea that people belonging to some cultures are superior to others is the new face of racism.
Because the Baloch people are culturally different from the mainstream Pakistan, they are treated with prejudice in every sphere of life. They are considered different and their way of life is regarded as uncivilized and obsolete.

When Balochistan was asked to merge with Pakistan in 1947, Baloch leaders had rightfully argued that the Baloch people had never been part of the sub-continent and their language, culture, history and geography differed from that of the sub-continent. Therefore, the Baloch voted against acceding with Pakistan. However, their land was taken over by the Pakistan military with force in March 1948.

In the following years, the mainstream Pakistan has found it difficult to understand the Baloch lifestyle. Other Pakistanis consider the Baloch as inferior and uncivilized because the Baloch cannot learn to pronounce the lingua franca of the country, that is Urdu.
Urdu is an Indian language while Balochi is an Iranian language.

Because of differences in the sound system and grammar of the two languages, the Baloch find it near to impossible to learn Urdu properly which is essential if you want to climb the ladder of success in Pakistan. For this reason, the Baloch get left behind and are treated with bias.

There is no place for racism in the modern world. There should be no place for cultural racism either.

Item 8

Pakistan has been given the second-last place on the UN’s Gender Gap Report for the last two years. It’s only ahead of Yemen and Syria.

The country has the 121st  ranking out of 157 in the Global Gender Gap Index.
Despite all the assurances to international human rights bodies, Pakistan’s consitution clearly states that the country’s laws must conform with centuries-old Islamic doctrine.
If a woman is killed by her brother in the name of honour, the Islamic law allows him to settle the case with the father or the rest of the family. In most of the cases, the family forgives the murderer who goes scot free.

Also, as two woman’s testitomny equals one man’s, rape cases are less likely to be decided in favour of the victims.
Apart from these basic flaws in the legal system, religious groups have lately launched an assault against the women’s freedom throughout the Pakistan, especially in Balochistan. Attacks and threats against girls’ education has caused a significant surge in the number of girls dropping out of education. According to the media, the dropout rate is an appalling 70 percent. Because of this and other discriminations against women, Balochistan has the lowest female literacy rate in Pakistan.

As a woman from Balochistan, I can testify that life for a woman in Pakistan is a tough one. If you get raped, there must be something wrong with you. If you get killed, you must have done something to deserve it. If you counter a man in a verbal argument, it reflects badly on your character. If I am talking about the abuses and voilence against women at this forum, I am bringing a bad name to Pakistan. But who cares!


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